Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An open letter to the staff of the Eyrie

Dear Eyrie Newspaper staff,

There are days in our newspaper room that I see you scurrying about, passing each other pages marked with ink. Lauren typically cusses under her breath and sometimes needs to come in the office for a breather.

Those of you who met deadline tuck your heads and do your best to become invisible. You know if I see you playing a game I will tell you to do something.

The page editors often complain they don’t have enough content, a photo didn’t get taken or that someone missed their story completely.

Until today I had never really understood your angst.

You all, including the editors write, take photos, copy edit and editors are responsible for their page.

This week, I volunteered to be a team leader. It was harder than I ever expected.

After our deadlines had passed, I listened to ASU Student Media Director, Jason Manning. He suggested that a trend we may be seeing more of is working in teams.

I had an ‘a-ha’ moment.

Why wouldn’t I have you team up for issues. On the first story one of you could take the lead reporter duties while the other takes photos, then switch roles for the second story.

I know I do not handle stress well. I knew I didn’t handle stress well before I became a team leader.

Why would I do it? Hmm…

I am an overachieving, perfectionist. I wanted to make you proud. I wanted to show you I could do it. I am just like you students.

Today, I experienced, one time, what you experience on a monthly basis.

I love you Eyrie staff, and this institute has given me some skills that will hopefully make you even better than you already are.


Mrs. Evenson

Michelle Evenson
Eden Prairie High School
Minneapolis, Minn.


  1. Michelle,

    What a great role model you have been to not only your students, but to me as well. You did a great job as team leader and I was so impressed with all of your hard work on your own story. I hope your kids get a chance to read this!

    Laura Schwinn
    Emporia High School
    Emporia, Kan.

  2. Michelle,

    If any one of us does not return to our staffs a more empathic adviser, I fear this week's efforts will ultimately be in vain. I cannot begin to appreciate the efforts of Courtney Sabo, who set the standard for this past year's Bloomsburg High School production of the R&W.

    She led our editorial board through the challenging story creation sessions then built nine uniquely designed issues that reflected content and drove a lot of it. She accepted nothing but perfection... remind you of anyone?

    Her sister is now the Managing Editor of MOAA, the magazine of the Military Officers Association of America, and she has shared with my classes the importance of that highest of standards.

    I think that is why we appreciate all that our staffs go through each issue while they balance other classes, sports, jobs, volunteer programs, family and life in general.

    These two weeks, our teamwork overcame stress. Simple, yes. But this model was so carefully crafted that we might be fooled in thinking that is will just come together with our students when we start our next year's edition. We will have to open these binders, and as you suggest, use what we have learned to better (yes, I know) guide our students toward that perfect process.

    Your time here has been wonderful tribute to your students.

    Sam Bidleman
    Bloomsburg High School
    Bloomsburg, Pa.

  3. Michelle,
    This is a great letter! You must show your kids. You're on your way to creating a journalism "family".
    -Kelly Camak